Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Official: Egypt's army blocks Erodgan's passage to Gaza

Egypt has refused to allow Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to enter Gaza through the Egyptian border, reports Watan, a Turkish-based newspaper.

The denial came reportedly as a reaction by the Egyptian side to Erdogan's continuous criticism of the interim government installed after the military deposed Brotherhood-fielded president Morsi amid massive protests for his ouster.

Erdogan was set to travel to Gaza later in August to pressure Israeli authorities to end the naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled territory.

Considering Egypt's refusal to allow him to pass from Egypt to Gaza, the Turkish prime minister's other choice is to enter through Israel – a country Turkey has faced-off with diplomatically in the last few years. more

West Bank settlement population growing rapidly

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The population in Israel's illegal West Bank settlements has grown twice as much as in Israel itself, military radio said on Tuesday, quoting official statistics.

The figures released by the interior ministry are likely to add to Palestinian misgivings about resuming peace talks in Washington last week with the Israelis. The talks broke down three years ago over the settlement issue.

According to the radio, the figures show an increase of 7,700 settlers in the occupied West Bank during the first six month of 2013 for a total settler population of 367,000.

This represents a 2.1 percent increase in six months compared to an annual population growth of two percent registered in Israel.

The number of settlers in West Bank outposts that could be dismantled as part of an eventual peace agreement between Israel and the PLO rose by 1.7 percent in the first half of the year, the report added.

The Israeli government on Sunday added 20 settlements to a list drawn up in 2009 of Jewish communities prioritized for aid. more

Ministry: 2 sick prisoners attempt suicide

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Two sick Palestinian prisoners have attempted to commit suicide, a lawyer from the Palestinian Authority's ministry of prisoners affairs said Tuesday.

Hanan al-Khatib said in a ministry statement that Mansour Muqada from Salfit in the central West Bank and Nahidh al-Aqra from the Gaza Strip swallowed more than 40 unspecified pills at Ramle prison clinic.

The patients were immediately transferred to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv where their stomachs were pumped, according to the lawyer.

Al-Khatib said the prisoners were disappointed after their cases were not included in the ongoing negotiations with the Israeli government seeking to free detainees ahead of resuming peace talks. She explained that Mansour Muqada suffered from hemiplegia and was serving a life term. The other prisoner, Nahidh al-Aqra, is serving three life sentences and has lost his feet.

Eighteen seriously ill Palestinian prisoners have been hospitalized at Ramle prison clinic, according to the lawyer. She said they expected the PA to include their cases in any possible future attempts to get Israel to release Palestinian prisoners. more